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UK sanctions five Russian banks and three oligarchs

LONDON — The U.K. has sanctioned five Russian banks and three wealthy individuals linked to Moscow in its first tranche of punitive measures against the Kremlin over its invasion of Ukraine.

The sanctions will hit Rossiya, IS Bank, General Bank, Promsvyazbank and the Black Sea Bank, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in an address to the House of Commons Tuesday.

Boris Rotenberg, Igor Rotenberg and Gennady Timchenko will see their assets in the U.K. frozen, will be banned from entering the country and will not be allowed to do any business with British individuals and entities, Johnson said, adding all three are “very close” to the Kremlin.

Boris Rotenberg is a Russian businessman and co-owner of the SGM group, the largest construction firm for gas pipelines in Russia. His nephew Igor Rotenberg is the majority shareholder in Gazprom Drilling. Timchenko is the founder of the private investment group Volga Group, which focuses on energy, transport and infrastructure assets.

The U.K. government will keep tougher measures for later, in case Russia steps up its aggression against Ukraine, Johnson said, accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of plotting the “destruction of a peaceful neighbor.”

Johnson described Putin’s speech Monday as “inflammatory” and full of “false accusations” against Ukraine. His deployment of troops into two breakaway areas in Eastern Ukraine “amount a renewed invasion,” he added.

“We should now brace ourselves for the worst possible stages of Putin’s plan,” Johnson warned. “We will continue to seek a diplomatic solution until the last possible moment. But we have to face the possibility that none of our messages has been heeded and that Putin is implacably determined to go further in subjugating and tormenting Ukraine.”

CORRECTION: This article has been updated to correct one of the targets for sanctions.

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